|MILDRED (standard:drama, 774 words)|
|Author: Jennifer Green||Added: Mar 04 2002||Views/Reads: 2174/1||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|Elderly woman reflects back on her life and times.|
MILDRED Copyright 2002 Jennifer Green Mildred lived in a retirement home now (you check in, you don't check out). She was 85, and still got around pretty well for her age. She kept herself up, dressed nicely and tried to keep active. She had a bad spell a few years ago when she fell and broke her hip, but she had finally recovered, thank God. Her husband Harry had died nearly six years ago now. She still missed him, although like any marriage they had had their ups and downs. But she had stuck it out, through the business failures, the bad years and good. She had been tenaciously attached to him, and supposed that was as good as love can get in the long run. He was a good man, easy going, a bit too scattered sometimes, but we all have our faults. Mildred went down to the dining room for lunch. The food here was good, and the staff was friendly if a bit slow sometimes. But then again, where were any of them going? There was the usual group of bridge players, the ladies who had a glass or two of wine at lunch and dinner, and then there were the droolers, as she thought of them. The ones who needed help just getting around. Usually they were alone, or with their aide; God help her if she ever got that bad. She sat down next to a drooler and her aide and ordered lunch. She made small talk and ate her chicken sandwich slowly. When lunch was over, she went back to her room and looked into the activities for the week, and signed up for a class. Then she sat down in her easy chair for a nap. She sat there, thinking about her life. She had been through so much! The depression, World War II, earthquakes, and now terrorism and economic unrest. Still, she had survived everything. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger. She had refused to give up, just turn her face to the wall like some of the other residents did. Stop eating, stop doing anything. They were so tired, and she understood, but she had kept going. What else could she do? And then there were the women who chased the few men who arrived in the center. You should have seen the fuss they made over Paul, a new single man in his 70's that moved in a couple of weeks ago. He was healthy, his wife had died, and was still attractive. The women had swarmed around him like buzzards around a fresh carcass. They brought him home made cookies, fussed over him at the senior's events. Mildred would have none of that, she was a lady, to the end. Then there were the couples where one was healthy, and the other was not. She wondered which was worse, to be alone at the end, or with someone you watch deteriorate, year after year. The men were so much more likely to go first. She had started getting headaches lately. She was getting another one now, a very bad one. And some visual flashing of lights. Oh, her head ached. She thought she should get up and get some aspirin, but found she couldn't move very well. Oh! Maybe she was having a brain aneurysm. The doctor had said that might have been causing her headaches. She couldn't get to the phone - oh, so this is it? Oh, her head! Oh! Like giving birth, it's impossible to describe until you go though it. But it was O.K. All the fuss about things, that was life. Always something to worry about, but really, all there is is peace. Like before you were born. If you didn't see the tree fall in the forest, did it still fall? She realized you wouldn't have this sense of peace unless you were finished with everything you had to do on earth. And she was. She was now. Later on that evening, when Mildred didn't come down for dinner, the aide checked on her. She found she had died peacefully in her chair. The aide notified the family, and made some arrangements. She was fond of Mildred and would miss her. She didn't complain too much like some of the other residents, and always had a kind word and a smile for her friends. She held her hand a moment, it was still warm and she looked so peaceful. She shed a tear like she always did when one of her favorite residents passed on, said a prayer for her, and then went back to work. Tweet
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